When the ESO servers came back up after the inexplicable pre-launch downtime, I threw caution to the wind and jumped into the Fungal Grotto dungeon to see what it was like. I was level 14 and would soon out-level it, so I figured I probably wouldn’t have another chance.
I picked the DPS role because that’s always the least stressful way to explore how dungeons work in a new game. Also, I didn’t have much in the way of tanking or healing skills. (Although as it turned out, I had to do both healing and tanking in the dungeon.)
So. Dungeons in ESO. How to describe it? You know how every other dungeon you’ve ever done is? Well, it’s not much like that. If I were forced to make a comparison, I would say it reminded me most of dungeons in Neverwinter.
First, there was getting to the dungeon. When the finder tool put me into a party I sort of expected to be teleported to the dungeon. But I had to run all the way across the map to get to the door. (I have resolved not to use the wayshrines as much, because they can get expensive.) It’s quite possible I did something wrong, but I don’t remember seeing any big obvious buttons that said, "Click here to go to the dungeon."
Anyway. You may or may not know that ESO has a very minimalist HUD while you’re playing. They also decided not to show names over players and monsters. It’s great for improving immersion, but it sucks for conveying basic information that you’re used to seeing in an MMO. Like where the tank is, and where the monsters are, and which one of them might be a boss. You get the unit frames on the left side of the screen like you’re used to, but they are very minimal plain red health bars. The result is that I felt very disoriented most of the way through the dungeon. (More so than usual for a first-time dungeon run.)
Fungal Grotto was not that long, for which I was thankful. I feel like it was around a half hour, which is a decent length for a dungeon. (I wish they’d get closer to twenty minutes though.) I believe we went through four bosses, though at the moment I couldn’t tell you anything about them. I usually wasn’t even aware we were fighting a boss until after we started. I think most of them were plain-looking humans that didn’t look any different from the trash mobs.
I like the way ESO dishes out loot in dungeons: There’s no need or greed. Everyone can loot every corpse (including bosses) and get their own loot. It boggles my mind that it has taken MMOs this long to figure this out. The down side is that each boss may or may not drop anything good for you. Sometimes you get a blue item, sometimes you get nothing. Oh, except soul gems. Which finally answers my question about where to get those things. At long last I can resurrect in place again. Now I just need to figure out where to get empty ones so I can use Soul Magic to fill them.
As for tactics, they were pretty chaotic in my group. The tank seemed to be pretty squishy, because he died halfway through every boss fight. I suppose it could also have been the healer. He said he was a "hybrid healer" whatever that is. I couldn’t see enough of what was going on to determine who was at fault. It wasn’t as bad as a GW2 zerg, but it was far from the level of organization I’m used to in dungeons. All I know is that I threw out a lot of heals on the tank when I saw his healthbar was almost empty, and I generally picked up aggro after the tank died.
I have to admit that’s exactly the role that I like to play in groups. Sort of a jack-of-all-trades role. Mostly DPS until something goes wrong, and then pick up the slack in whatever areas are required. If this experience is typical of ESO dungeon runs then I think I might enjoy them.
The one pro-tip I can give specifically for Fungal Grotto is to bring some kind of AoE damage to the part toward the end where all the mudcrabs swarm around you. I know this because I didn’t have one and it was a pain to kill them one-by-one. Other than that, it seemed like basic tank-and-spank through the whole thing. There were a couple of things to dodge but nothing major enough to warrant remembering it. :)
Upon completion, I got an achievement and a skill point, so I guess that was worth it. I’m assuming you won’t get a point every time you do it though.